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Written by James Heslip on . Posted in Casual Magic


James Heslip

James is a budget Magic connoisseur who values silly strategies and rogue decks. He has been playing Magic since 1998, and competing in Legacy events since 2010. When he is not teaching high school English, he can be found brewing Casual and Legacy decks to play with his students and peers. Always appreciative of feedback, he loves it when people send suggestions and share crazy decks with him!
Not too long ago I did a draft of Conspiracy: Take the Crown with some friends. Among the cards I picked for my deck were Guardian of the Gateless and Ghostly Possession, which turned out to be quite the powerful combination in limited. Without a removal spell, my opponents could not get past a creature that could block their entire army without getting a scratch. Today’s deck uses this same combo concept as its core strategy and sticks to our meager $10 budget almost exactly.
The Core

Wall of Glare and Palace Guard are smaller than Guardian of the Gateless, but they have her same blocking ability and are much easier to cast. They are the core of our deck, so we play four of each. If you really want to, you can add one or two copies of Guardian to your list, but I think her mana cost is simply too high compared to the added consistency she provides to the deck.

Inviolability is our other combo piece. When combined with any of the aforementioned creatures you have a wall that can stop any number of attackers every turn. Ghostly Possession serves the same purpose, and while it does cost more mana to cast, it can give our blockers flying. This means even something with wings won’t be able to fly over our wall.

The Backup

Every combo needs protection. While the auras used in our combo do prevent burn spells from being a problem, they do not stop straight removal. For the longest time, I used Benevolent Bodyguard to help solve this problem. That is, until I was looking through some of my bulk, and came across Vigilant Martyr. Martyr does everything we wanted our bodyguard to do (stop kill spells like Doom Blade) and has the added benefit of being able to protect our key auras as well! I don’t think I could have stumbled upon a more fitting protection creature.

Ward of Lights is a monetarily cheaper Cho-Manno’s Blessing that can also be used to stop a kill spell thanks to its ability to be cast at instant speed. It is also a potential combo piece, since we can simply use it in place of Inviolability against a single-color deck. Color protection also gives pseudo unblockable, so Wards can be used in the late game to make sure our damage gets through.

Heliod’s Pilgrim and Open the Armory add consistency. They can search out specific combo pieces, as well as some silver bullets. Kirtar’s Desire, for example, is a cheap “removal spell” that either creature can find for us in a pinch. Guard Duty would be an alternative that is easy to come by. Faith’s Fetters can be searched for should we need to stop some pesky activated abilities, like those of a planeswalker. Finally, Entangler gives any creature the same blocking ability of our Wall or Guard. A Pilgrim with both Entangler and Inviolability on it works just as well the original combo.

Danitha is our finisher. As a beater, she’s powerful thanks to her static abilities. Her cost reduction on our auras is just icing on the cake. After we’ve established our wall we can play her, and then use Pilgrim and Armory to search out the buff auras. Armored Ascension will usually give her a big enough boost to end the game in two or three turns. Holy Mantle comes with its own damage boost, but can also make Danitha unblockable thanks to the protection from creatures it provides. Both auras work in other situations as well. Namely, Ascension gives flying, so we can pop it on a wall or guard to allow them to block anything with wings. Mantle’s protection from creatures means it can be used in place of Inviolability in a pinch as well.

Playing the Deck
  Obviously our first order of business will always be to establish our wall. Vigilant Martyr is our best turn one play, as it can protect our combo creatures before we have access to other options. Kirtar’s Desire will stop early threats. Use Pilgrim and Armory to search out whatever aura combo piece you don’t have, and build your wall ASAP.

From here, just start preparing to end the game with Danitha. Your aura searches can be used to guarantee the safety of your wall by grabbing an extra Ward of Lights. Then, just search for Armored Ascension and Holy Mantle. Inviolability can also be placed on the Paragon to keep her safe from burn spells. Even if you don’t find a Danitha, Heliod’s Pilgrim buffed with the same auras can be nearly as deadly. Also, dumping an Entangler on Danitha after she’s already wearing her Holy Mantle transforms her into our finisher and combo all in one. Thanks to her vigilance, she can play both roles at the same time!

That’s pretty much all there is to it. Don’t be afraid to play the slow game by keeping up extra mana for Vigilant Martyr activations or Ward of Lights plays. You might have to pass a few turns without doing anything while you build up your land base. That’s okay, though, you’ll survive. That’s the whole point of the deck.

Faith’s Shield, Devoted Caretaker, Mother of Runes, and Benevolent Bodyguard are all additional protection options. Shield and Caretaker are relevant because they can protect your auras as well as your creatures. Cho-Manno’s Blessing is your more expensive Ward of Lights. It is slightly better, because it stays in play after being cast at instant speed, so if you have them, use them.Gorgon’s Head and other deathtouch equipment can be fun. However, without a way to force your opponent to attack I doubt they will be of much use. Prismatic Ward, Heart of Light, Sandskin, Floating Shield, Pentarch Ward, and Unquestioned Authority are all three-drop options that can replace Ghostly Possession. Possession gives flying, through, which can be relevant. In my opinion, this places it on a pedestal above the rest.Ethereal Armor, Empyrial Armor, Daybreak Coronet, and Spectra Ward are additional end game options. They all serve the same purpose as Armored Ascension, but have their differences. Put them on Danitha, or any of your other potential creature finishers listed above. Graceblade Artisan in particular should be noted because he gets bigger even if you are only dressing him up with protection auras.
Thanks to the consistency and the sheer power of the combo, I enjoy playing this deck quite a bit. Opponents probably don’t feel the same way, though. I can see this being a drag to play against if your deck is not prepared. What do you think? Let me know on my facebook page. Do you have an idea for an inexpensive and fun deck you want me to see? send me an email at Spooky386@gmail.com.


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